In today’s modern world we are constantly surrounded by media and entertainment that are presented from a digital source. Every day we use our electronics at work, to contact family, and to watch movies. When we stare at our screens for long periods of time we often experience digital eye strain (also known as computer strain syndrome or asthenopia).
Although there may not be any permanent harm to the eyes from staring at our digital devices for long periods of time, having some kind of discomfort is very common. The symptoms of digital eye strain include: burning, redness, itching, tearing, blurriness, and headache. The reason for these symptoms is due to decreased blinking. Normally humans blink about 15 times a minute but this number drops significantly when focusing on a single target for many hours. Having uncorrected myopia, hyperopia, astigmatism or presbyopia may compound the symptoms of digital eye strain as well. Eye ergonomic tips from the American Academy of Ophthalmology to lessen eye strain include:
- Sit about 25 inches, or arm's length, from the computer screen. Position the screen so your eye gaze is slightly downward.
- Many devices now have glass screens with considerable glare. Reduce glare by using a matte screen filter if needed.
- Take regular breaks using the “20-20-20” rule: every 20 minutes, shift your eyes to look at an object at least 20 feet away, for at least 20 seconds.
- Use artificial tears to refresh your eyes when they feel dry. Consider using a humidifier.
- If a screen is much brighter than the surrounding light, your eyes have to work harder to see. Adjust your room lighting and try increasing the contrast on your screen to reduce eye strain.
If you are experiencing any of symptoms of digital eye strain, consider making an appointment with me or one of fantastic optometrist or ophthalmologist to optimize your vision with corrective lenses and to treat any existing eye conditions. To schedule an appointment or for more information give us a call at 702-456-4000.